Thursday October 25th, 2012

The exercise:

Write about: supernova.

We had another midwife appointment in Penticton this morning. At first we had them once a month, then we went down to every two weeks, now we're at every week until the baby comes. The midwives seem to know what they're doing, because this has matched up perfectly with the increasing number of questions we have for them at each visit.

Anyway, the point I was trying to make was that between the appointment, the drive, and various errands, this took up most of our day. Though I did manage to squeeze in a trip to the insurance office to get my driver's license renewed (it's expiring tomorrow).

Tomorrow I turn 34 years young. This will be the age that will always be remembered as the year I became a father.


We could always tell when Mr. Richards was about to go supernova. There was a particular shade of red that would appear at the base of his neck, as though it was rising from beneath his shirt after it had already transformed the colour of the rest of his body.

It would pulsate up toward his cheeks and he would become the twin of the sort of Santa you might find in a small town's Christmas parade. Well, a throbbing, luminescent, gloriously angry Santa.

If we were wise, we'd knock off whatever we'd been doing to tick our teacher off at this point. Explosion averted, the red would drain back into his buttoned shirt and we'd wait a few minutes before starting up again.

But if we were foolish, or simply not paying close enough attention, that dangerous red would reach his eyes. And by that point, it was too late. There was no going back.

Mr. Richards was going to blow up and he was taking all of us with him.


Greg said...

Have you considered the possibility that the midwives are just staggering their disturbing stories to increase the number of questions you have to balance the rate of their visits? ;-) You know you're asking too often though, as that when they start talking about two-headed children and merbabies :)
Happy Birthday! At least, I think it should be by the time you read this comment. I hope it's a good day for you, with no snow, no gardening, and presents in abundance!
Mr. Richards sounds interesting; I don't think I ever had any teachers quite so predictable with their rages. I think I might have had the odd hair-trigger teacher though :)
I did like the description of the giveaway red flush!

The editor called Jacqueline into her office, and then spent two minutes just sitting there, staring at her. Jacqueline thought nothing of it at first, and then only slowly began to get uncomfortable. When she reached for her purse to get a mirror out and check if her hair was a mess, or if her makeup was smudged, the editor sighed sharply.
"Your last piece," she said, picking up a printout from a desk that was otherwise covered with snippets, newspaper cuttings, elastic bands and paperclips. "Is...."
"Perfect?" Jacqueline had her own views on her work and the unenlightened editor she had to work for. "It's pithy, it's eye-catching, and it tells a story. What more could you want?"
"Humanity?" suggested her editor before she could stop herself. Jacqueline just looked surprised.
"You've called it Night of the Supernovae," said her editor. "Yes, the Convention Centre blew up in the middle of a One Direction concert killing the band. But our readers will know that supernovae are exploding stars, and they will find that distasteful."
"Oh," said Jacqueline, lost in the mists of incomprehension.
"And it's stretching a point to call One Direction stars really...." murmured her editor, but more to herself.

Iron Bess said...

Happy birthday Marc! How far away is B day for the new one? I bet you guys are getting pretty pumped. And scared.

Marc - hmmm seems to me I may have had that same teacher, except he was a she and a red head.
Greg - maybe she's a reporter for Fox News.


This would be Gia’s third supernova and Baryl’s second, they were watching from a safe distance as the star went through its final death throes. “I’ve recorded over five thousand nova,” she said. “And two supernova which didn’t have a third the energy release this one is estimated to expend.” Muted lights flashed in sequence across the bubble board indicating another gravitational shift, a sure indication that they were within minutes of the blast.

Baryl blinked his left eye to transfer their ship’s status to the front of his display he checked their coordinates, and the instrumentation diagnostics one final time. Three seconds was all they had to retrieve any information they could before having to duck into an adjacent dimension to avoid being splattered half way across the galaxy. This was going to be a giant explosion which unfortunately would wipe out any life within thousands of parsecs. If the initial radiation blast didn’t kill everything in its path then the shock wave certainly would. He held onto his hopes for the Suunhi civilization which sat on the very edge of the blast zone. “I hope the shield will hold in sector 13π,” he said.

Mara clicked her tongue in agreement. “Our species owes its survival to a well-positioned blast shield,” she said. The lights flashed one last time then turned a dark blue indicating a minute to the event. Mara’s third and fourth sets of tentacles were a blur as she did the final preparations on the instruments. “Hundreds of civilization will die now but this supernova will create thousands of new stars. I hope to be around long enough to welcome the newest children as they emerge from the birth waters.”

In the end the blast was what they had hoped for and more. A large portion of the star’s energy was sent toward the opposite end of the galaxy so when the survey ship emerged from their little protective pocket back into real space/time Baryl was pleased to see his shield had held and the Suunhi’s were well and thriving. They were a peaceful civilization which would make a perfect addition to the galaxy guardian’s institution.

Also behind the blast shield another, less advanced, civilization had also survived. This one was not so peaceful, and would not make a good addition to the hierarchy of the guardians of their galaxy. The fact was that if they actually managed to survive the devastation they had created on their own world, and the hatred and prejudice which drove them to kill each other with such relish and abandon then the galaxy would become a harsher, crueler place when they finally emerged. “Far out. Did you see that light,” a small, thick biped quipped as he tipped his head to drink the final dregs of the toxic brew he clutched in his fingers. “I think it was like a UFO or something.”

“Yer such a fucktard Mike,” his friend said before slugging him in the shoulder. “Let’s move I think we killed all the ducks in this bay.” He picked up his rifle and waded to shore leaving dozens of dead carcasses to rot in the water.

Marc said...

Greg - I'll take a pass on merbabies, thanks :P

Hah, that's my kind of supernova!

Iron Bess - thanks! Any time now for baby, as we're within two weeks of the due date. We'll see :)

Ugh, I can just imagine other beings viewing us in exactly this manner. Perfectly captured.

Anonymous said...

happy birthday! and what a present you are about to recive!


It can happen once in a lifetime or not all, so when a star ends its life in a final, glorious burst of light known as a supernova, you had better see it.
I remember the one from the ’80s. It was brilliant. Although I had a telescope to enhance the visual image, you really didn’t need it. It was visible in the night sky to the west of me at about two in the morning, not far above the horizon.
I got the kids out of bed and they blearingly wiped the sleep from their eyes as they gazed at the fuzzy object in the night sky. It was worth being woken up for, in my opinion, although they disagreed at the time.
I’m not sure if they remember it, but they should - I’d done the same thing to them the year before for Halley’s Comet.

Marc said...

Writebite - thank you :)

Oh man, I'm totally dragging my kid out of bed in the middle of the night for cool stuff like this :D